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Taoiseach says Detective Garda Colm Horkan 'gave his life protecting the community'

The on-duty garda died following an incident in Castlerea which happened shortly before midnight.

LAST UPDATE | 18 Jun 2020

colm Detective Garda Colm Horkan Garda Press Garda Press

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that the garda who died after being shot in Co Roscommon last night “gave his life protecting the community”.

Detective Garda Colm Horkan died following an incident in Castlerea which happened shortly before midnight. He was on duty at the time. 

It is believed that his official firearm was taken from him as he was on patrol and he was shot with it. 

A man aged in his 40s was arrested at the scene and is currently detained in Castlerea Garda Station. 

“Last night we lost a member of An Garda Síochána in the most tragic of circumstances and today a nation is grieving, ” the Taoiseach said outside Government Buildings.

I’ve spoken to the Garda Commissioner earlier today and the Minister of Justice and we’re in touch with the family of Detective Colm Horkan to offer our condolences and support. I extend that also to all of his colleagues in Castlerea Garda Station to every member of An Garda Síochána, his friends and all who knew him.

“Colm gave his life protecting the community he had served with distinction and courage during his 24 years as a member of An Garda Síochána. His story is the same as the thousands of men and women who wear the uniform. A story of courage, sacrifice and service,” the Taoiseach added.

Our gardaí are our guardians of the peace and defenders of the rule of law and they are role models in our society. This tragedy is a heart-wrenching reminder of how much we owe our gardaí for the work that they do all over the country. They protect and serve our citizens, our communities and our country, every day putting themselves in the front line of crime prevention on behalf of all of us. 

PastedImage-90135 The Taoiseach speaking at Government Buildings this afternoon.


Following the death of the Detective Garda, locals in Castlerea have been telling of their deep shock when they woke to the news that the popular and well-known garda had died in such a violent manner. 

Detective Garda Colm Horkan is originally from Mayo and had been a member of An Garda Siochána since 1995 and was a detective based in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, which is in the Castlerea district.

“Detective Garda Colm Horkan is the 89th member of An Garda Síochána killed in the line of duty,” Commissioner Drew Harris said.

“Today is a terrible reminder of the significant sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice, that gardaí make to keep people safe.”

The Garda Representative Association described him as an “experienced detective greatly respected by colleagues”. 

He is survived by his father, sister and four brothers. 

The scene at the junction of Patrick Street and Main Street in Castlerea remains sealed off pending a forensic examination by the Garda Technical Bureau. 

A post-mortem will be carried out later today by the State Pathologist. The incident has been referred to the Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) as it involved an official Garda firearm. 

An Garda Siochána has asked for privacy for the man’s family. 

“It is with deepest sadness An Garda Siochána confirms the death of our colleague, resulting from fatal gunshot wounds received during an incident in Castlerea shortly before midnight,” a statement from An Garda Siochána said. 

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Gardaí have also appealed for witnesses or anyone with information or dash cam footage to contact the incident room in Castlerea Garda station on 094 962 1635. 

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